Discontinued Samples Today, Bespoke Art Tomorrow

Almost every working professional heaves a sigh of relief as Friday rolls in. Whether you love or detest your job, weekends signal a much-earned discharge from business. Yet, as we laze around on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, ‘FOMO’ lurks around like a nosy stranger. Before we realise it, we are navigating the abyss of LinkedIn. We see what ex-colleagues are up to, congratulate peers and clients on achievements, and even read long-winded posts with engaging hooks. Time passes, and we put our phones down, only to feel subservient. Where is our tenacity? Have humans been reduced to content-consuming drudges?

But there lies a bigger problem. For many of us, scrolling on LinkedIn leaves us exhausted and rarely inspired. It is more of a chore than a delight. Truthfully, aren’t we just ticking one task off our lists? Stumbling upon inspirational prose and ideas is like finding a needle in a haystack, especially with AI-generated and didactic posts infiltrating the business platform. But a few Sundays ago, our team found something worth the dialogue.

In a LinkedIn post, Priyal Dalvi asked architects and interior designers, “What do you do with the discontinued samples of wallpapers, fabrics, leather, etc., from your material lab? Do you throw them away?”

She had posed the same question to a sales representative at the design studio she works in Florida. The man was there to replace discontinued leather samples and told Priyal that the fabrics would be thrown away. The reply left her uneasy. She itched to offer a solution. But what? Flashes of her 6-year-old self making palm-sized chairs and tables out of waste wood and cardboard hit her the same instant. She decided to be self-reliant and buy herself more time.

Priyal requested the representative in front of her to hand over all the scrap he had collected. The buzz of responsibility had zinged her good. She even went to her co-workers to collect the unused samples they had kept aside to discard. With a 4-litre box full of fabrics, she headed home that day. But for the coming week, she couldn’t concoct a plan to put them to use. 

The daughter of an artist, Priyal always pampers her close friends with sketch portraits or acrylic artworks. But this time around, she tweaked her medium. “I decided to give one of my co-workers a family portrait for his birthday. But, this time, I took a different approach. This was my first attempt at creating something sustainable and unique,” she wrote on LinkedIn.

The Junior Interior Designer used portions of different fabrics layered on each other to curate portraits. “It made my co-worker’s day, but it also gave me a sense of relief to have saved these pieces from going into the landfill,” she conveyed.

“These beautiful pieces still have potential; we just have to think outside the box.”

– Priyal Dalvi

We reached out to Priyal to ask permission to share her work and ask if she looks at this as a scalable venture. Once she had granted permission, no questions asked, she divulged into the conversation. “This is definitely the beginning of something new as it allows me to be a more mindful designer”, she shared. “I definitely see it as scalable since it creates awareness amongst other designers to not simply throw away things that still might have potential and purpose.” 

Her passion for sustainability is undeniable. We were curious to know what fuels it. “As an interior designer, I have noticed that regardless of the scale of the project, tons of ‘ignored’ waste is being produced. At the same time, we pick the best materials to provide clients with luxury, comfort and safety. We tend to forget about the safety of the environment”, she posits. “From picking fire-resistant furniture to non-toxic paints and LED lighting, every creative choice is made consciously to eliminate any potential hazards to the client. But at the same time, we ignore the hazards thrown into the surroundings. So, if I have the gift to imagine and create, why not start with the waste we are responsible for? Sustainability is not only about choosing the right materials for a project. It is also about what you do with the discarded/unused materials once the project is complete. Saving the environment is also about fixing what already exists.”

Certifications, EPDs, and LEED points govern design narratives today, but designers must also extend their creativity to other realms—especially those without regulations. Like Priyal, the idea is to strive outside the box.


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2 July, 2024

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